What to do if your brakes fail

Few situations are as terrifying for motorists than a brake failure. Even when you're traveling at speeds as low as 15 mph, the results of a brake failure can be catastrophic. While the advice we provide can't prevent damage or injury to you, your passengers, your vehicle or others on the road, it can help to lessen the potential for tragedy.

Because it can be difficult to remember these steps, we suggest you print this page and keep a copy in each of your vehicles in case of a brake emergency. If at any time you feel as though your brakes aren't working as well as they should be, schedule an appointment with the professional, courteous technicians in the SVG Service Department. Also remember that these steps can help lessen the potential for a tragedy, but they are not guaranteed to prevent damage or injury. With that being said, here are the steps you can take in the event of a sudden brake failure.

Step 1: Take your foot off the accelerator. Immediately turn on your hazard lights.
Step 2: If you're in a vehicle without anti-lock brakes (ABS), pump your brakes hard and fast. If you have ABS, press your foot onto the brake as hard as you can and hold it there.
Step 3: If you're in a vehicle with a manual transmission, shift into a lower gear. If you're in a vehicle with an automatic transmission, shift from drive to 1, 2, 3, or L.
Step 4: Using a smooth, even motion, pull up on the emergency brake lever. Do NOT jerk on the brake; doing so will send your vehicle into a spin.
Step 5: If you're traveling on a road with side guardrails, pull over to rub the side of your vehicle along them. This will damage your vehicle's body, but the friction can help slow your vehicle down.
Step 6: If you see an area of open grass, gravel, dirt, sand or bushes, pull into it and shift your vehicle into neutral.

Hopefully these steps can help lessen the potential for a catastrophe in the event of a brake failure. Your best bet for safe motoring though is to have routine maintenance performed on your vehicle so potential problems can be addressed before an emergency strikes. You can always trust the SVG Service Department technicians to thoroughly examine your car and provide an accurate diagnosis of systems that may need repair or maintenance.